Behind Buress at 11am were thirteen cavers, eagerly awaiting an afternoon of excitement. Laura, Steve, Ed, Jon V, Amy, Katy, Rich, JC, Peter, Dave, Patrick, and Crystal showed up. Now if you were counting correctly, you may have noticed that there were actually only 12 cavers, not thirteen. Keep this in mind. Since Ed couldn’t bring the gear with him to Buruss, half of the cavers went to Jr. J’s bagels while the rest went to Ed’s place to pick up the equipment. It was nearing noon when we left from Mr. J’s. There were three people who were going to clear 3-D-Katy, Amy, and Crystal. Crystal, who had been riding with Jon to Mr. J’s, was kicked out of Jon V.’s car for bad DJ’ing. One of the requirements for clearing a cave is being able to drive to the cave without having to ask for assistance. Since Crystal was now in my car, I asked her to lead the way. She replied, “Well, I know it’s on that road.” Ed’s leadership under her guidance would be a difficult journey. I jumped out of the car and asked Katy if she could lead the way. The ride there was great. I’m not sure how the experience was for the other cavers, but those in the car with Ed had an awesome time. Why, you ask? Well, Ed was DJ’ing in Dave’s car. All of a sudden he heard, “****, ****, ***” (Ed is singing and drumming to the music). He said, “Man, this stuff is incredible. It sounds almost like Led Zeppelin! I can’t believe that it’s not. Am I sure this isn’t Led Zeppelin? No, no, no, I have everything Zeppelin has ever recorded-I would definitely know this_” Then out of nowhere the distinguishable Robert Plant scream was hear. To Ed’s amazement he too screamed joyous notes of excitement. The song ended up being on Led Zeppelins’ newly released BBC recordings-which Ed hasn’t had the time to buy.
Ok, back to the cave trip. Katy tried her best to get all of the gear situated at the bottom of the hill. She failed, however, to check Ed and Steve’s batteries on their personal helmets. How could she have forgotten to check our personal gear-I don’t know. Ed, Steve, Laura, Dave, Peter, and Crystal chose to repel into Lyle’s pit first. The rest of the group went into 3-D. Katy lead the way-or maybe it was Amy-and they both did fine. Meanwhile back at Lyle’s pit, Ed and Steve were tying knots of perfection. The main rappelling rope was a knot of art. Around the tree, through the crotch, couple knots here, couple knots there, and a carabiner for fun, secured the rappelling rope. The first scapegoat, I mean descender, was supposed to be Crystal, but Steve went instead. Down he went into the warmer climate. He came back up fairly soon and Ed was next, followed by Peter. When both Ed and Peter were at the bottom, Peter discovered a petrified turtle. “Ed, look at this-a turtle!” We picked it up and noticed that the poor thing was barely alive. Its entire body was embodied in mud. Its eyes were glued shut, and it had no color. His head was pointed up towards the light of the entrance, which he must have accidentally fallen into-some 40 feet. Immediately, Ed took charge. “STEVE! We have an emergency here! Send down the turtle rescue kit!” Unbeknownst to Ed, Steve actually did find the turtle-rescuing device. Slowly the helmet was lowered to the bottom. Ed placed the turtle in it and up it was taken. As I was wondering who was brave enough to offer his helmet to rescue the hideous creature, I ask, “Hey Steve, where’s Dave!?” Steve replied, “Oh, he went on a walk.” And then I hear the faint sound of Dave returning from his walk screaming-“HEY! That’s my helmet!” Agggg_ When Steve saw the turtle, he screamed and ran up a tree to safety. It looked bad. Ed was convinced they could save it though. He climbed out of the pit and took the turtle to 3-D to show the others. Amy took good care of him. She put him in the entrance of the cave under some leaves where it would be nice and warm.
However, she failed to realize that the entrance of a cave would not be a good place to put a turtle when MUSG cavers who didn’t know he was under a foot of leaves were coming in. She showed us where he was and then caving the second group went. The fourth dimension was awesome. Ed managed to enter into the fourth without getting a single drop of water on his dry, cozy, and warm feet. Once in the fourth dimension, Ed and Steve were starting to take over Crystal’s trip. She said, “Ed, who’s leading this trip?” and Steve replied, “Ahh, we’re in a new part of the cave-your trip’s over.” This was the first time Ed had been in the fourth dimension in two years. It was most exciting. Crystal found a little tiny mud hole that a daring caver might be able to crawl through. Steve was up to the challenge. He crawled into the tiny hole and then thought, “Hey, maybe I’d better throw some mud in it to see how deep it goes.” He tried several times to throw some objects, and finally after 5 minutes of trying, we hear, “THmm.m__..schooos_” Too far for Steve’s liking, we made our way out. We met up with the first group and did a count off. Somehow we were missing the 13th caver. Ed determined that the loss of only one wasn’t such a bad ration-and we left. (No, Jon V. told Rich that he thought we came with only 12, not 13.) Back at the cars, we all got ready to go home. But wait-where’s the turtle? Amy, the good Samaritan that she is, ran all the way back with JC to get the turtle. Jon didn’t think he was going to live-and so did many of the people. But when Ed took him home and cleaned him up he looked like__this!!!